Tom Ford the former Gucci/Yves St. Laurent designer has dealt with depression his whole life. “I have always struggled throughout my life with depression,” Ford, now 48, says. “I’ve never made any of this public because…well…I’m not one to wear any of this on my sleeve. When someone would come into my office in the morning and ask me how I was I’d always go, ‘I’m great! I’m great!’
“But I wasn’t great.”
“I started to sink . . .
Tom’s depression escalated in 2004 when he left Gucci. “I started to sink emotionally, spiritually. I became a little bit lost. It forced me to really think: Well, what am I, who am I, what am I about? It took me a bit of time to figure that out. I have a very dark side, a side that has struggled a lot with depression, and I’ve never been one who showed that to the outside world. Everyone struggles in life. Yves Saint Laurent used to drive me nuts–his depressions, his alcoholism, his whatever. Most people have a lot of problems. You can define yourself by them, or you can realize that everyone is going through what you’re going through and you make the best of it and you get on with your life and you don’t necessarily inflict that, because others probably have that too. They’re just not inflicting it on you.”
Tom, best known for reinventing the house of Gucci in the 1990s, has reinvented his own life. The only cuts he’s making aren’t with fabric but with digital snipits of movie magic. In his latest incarnation he has become a critically well received director of a feature film entitled A Single Man.
Set in Los Angeles in 1962, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, A Single Man is the story of George Falconer, a 52 year old British college professor [Colin Firth] who is struggling to find meaning to his life after the death of his long time partner, Jim [Matthew Goode]. George dwells on the past and cannot see his future as we follow him through a single day, where a series of events and encounters, ultimately leads him to decide if there is a meaning to life after Jim. George is consoled by his closest friend Charley [Julianne Moore], a 48 year old beauty who is wrestling with her own questions about the future. A young student of George’s, Kenny [Nicholas Hoult], who is coming to terms with his true nature, stalks George as he feels in him a kindred spirit. A Single Man is a romantic tale of love interrupted, the isolation that is an inherent part of the human condition, and ultimately the importance of the seemingly smaller moments in life.
And how does film making compare to fashion design?
“Film making is a totally different expression. Fashion for me is a commercial endeavor. Film making is an artistic endeavor and a commercial endeavor. Working on ‘Single Man’ was the truest expression of anything I’ve ever created. It had nothing to do with fashion.”
Tom put his money where his passion is, having financed the production entirely by himself, upwards of seven million dollars.
“I was talking to (billionaire businessman) David Geffen, who’s a friend of mine, and said: ‘David, I’m trying to decide if I should just use my own money but everyone keeps telling me that’s dumb.’ He said: ‘Invest in yourself. It’s always the best investment.’ I realize I’m very, very fortunate to have that ability.
So, Tom went, as Texas Holdem trixta’s call it, “All in.”
“All of it,” Mr. Ford says, “So I know exactly how much . . . we worked with the union, the maximum we could spend was $7.2 million dollars and we
came in below that. We shot this film in 21 days.”
So far it’s been a good gamble. Starring Colin Firth as George, A Single Man premiered at the 66t Venice International Film Festival. It was nominated for the Golden Lion and Colin Firth won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor.
A Single Man is based on a 1964 novel by Christopher Isherwood which is dedicated to Gore Vidal. Edmund White called A Single Man “one of the first and best novels of the modern gay liberation movement.”
Good luck Tom!